Review: The Keith Richards One Woman Show (Suitcase in Point)

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Deanna Jones’ tribute to rock legend Keith Richards is playing at Toronto’s FIXT Point Studio

The Keith Richards One Woman Show by Suitcase in Point begins with what you would expect. There was a woman on the FIXT Point Studio stage and she loved Keith Richards, the ultimate rockstar from the Rolling Stones. This woman did not just love Keith Richards. She idolized him. He was the rock and roll God that she worshipped with religious fervor and Jack Daniels. As funny of a concept I found this, I was still skeptical of how a super-fan’s obsession for an old junkie guitarist could entertain me for more than five minutes.

The play began with Mona, played by the creator Deanna Jones, sitting in her apartment trying to outbid another fan for a bootlegged Rolling Stones’ album online. In the midst of bidding, Mona gushes about how cool Keith Richards is. She recited books, listed facts, sang songs, and repeatedly chanted his name like she was in the front-row of a concert, instead of standing on a coffee-table. I was amused by Jones’ commitment to being the ridiculous uber-fan, but I was wary about the amount of tongue-wagging and chanting I could handle.

Mona was hopelessly one-dimensional, and it worried me. I had discussed with my boyfriend before the performance that one-woman, or one-man, shows tend to have two results. We agreed that either they are genuinely entertaining or incredibly awkward. I was crossing my fingers that it was the first, and thankfully I was not disappointed.

After ten minutes, Mona revealed she was trying to match Keith’s record of not sleeping for nine days straight, and she was on her eighth day. That is when things got interesting. Mona repeatedly nodded off into strange dreams and scenarios that involved Keith Richards and other members of his musical life. The hodge-podge of fact and fiction was accompanied by guitar music in the background, played by “Stones Guru” Kevin Richardson. No matter how comical or dark the situation, music was always there, which is fitting for a show about a musical icon.

Jones demonstrated an impressive ability to imitate. She switched from accent to accent, hopped around the stage, and even stripped. Her impression of Richards’ gruff voice and drunken swagger was spot-on. Meanwhile her Mick Jagger impression was less accurate, but absolutely priceless. Jones’ energy and enthusiasm for the character, the music, and for Keith was admirable. Even if I was not a die-hard fan of the Rolling Stones, I certainly loved watching one.

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Photograph of Deanna Jones by Lauren Garbutt Photography

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